Officials: Surge in Australia-Estonia money transfers not due to criminal reasons
The reasons behind a surge in the amount of money moving from Australia to Estonia are apparently not criminal in nature, the Financial Intelligence Unit of Estonia's Central Criminal Police said.
"The Financial Intelligence Unit of the Central Criminal Police is informed of the subject and investigators have no reason to believe at the moment that this could be about something illegal, criminal," Helen Uldrich, spokesperson for the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board (PPA), told BNS.
Uldrich said that officials at the Financial Intelligence Unit believe that the increase in the amount of money transferred from Australia is a result of transfers made by Estonians working there and represent the provision of a cross-border service.
The Guardian reported on Wednesday that while China remained by far the biggest destination for Australian cash this year, the amount of funds transferred to Estonia had experienced a huge, unexplained spike in recent years. In 2010, just 77,500 Australian dollars moved from Australian accounts to Estonia. That had increased dramatically to 4.3 million dollars by 2015, and again to 8.9 million dollars in 2016.
Anti-money laundering expert John Walker told The Guardian that while the change could be easily explained by an increase in trade between Australia and Estonia, due to Estonia's EU membership, it could be also a result of money launderers taking advantage of a "new" opportunity in that country.